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The Dreaded 50 Percent Rule

Have you ever heard of the 50 Percent Rule?

Under this rule, if your structure is damaged or improved by 50 percent or more based on the structure's market value, it will have to comply with current floodplain management rules.

What does this mean?

Polk County's Floodplain Management ordinance includes a Substantial Damage/Substantial Improvement rule.

The purpose of substantial damage and substantial improvement and substantial damage regulations (the 50 Percent Rule) is to ensure that lives and increased investment in flood-prone areas will be protected from flooding. This is important for residents and business owners to know because many structures built before these rules were created do not meet the required floodplain management regulations.

Elevation Certificates

If the 50 percent rule were applied to these structures they would have to be elevated to comply with current rules. It is important that everyone knows this rule, the elevation of their structures and how that elevation compares with the current standard. This is one reason an Elevation Certificate is so important for all property owners to have.

Polk County keeps copies of all elevation certificates that it receives.

Click here for: Elevation Certificates

To find out if your property is in a flood zone, to request a copy of an existing Elevation Certificate or for other flood protection information, please call the county's Floodplain Management Program:

(863) 534-6765 OR (863) 534-6767